Things can only get better....oh they just have.Orwell wrote occasionally about the 'cognitive dissonance' he felt between his own subjective feelings that the world was going to hell in a handbasket, and the objective data you get from statistics which showed that the world is actually getting better. And I feel much the same. Despite the horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan, the unctuous lies of New Labour and the terrifying fact that George Bush is not yet in jail (and might never be...gulp), we have to remember a few simple facts.
'Despite the daily headlines about violence and death in Iraq, Darfur and elsewhere, the statistics suggest that in many ways the world is a safer place now than in 1956. The number of conflicts around the globe has been dropping more or less steadily since the second world war.
According to the Human Security Report, an exhaustive round-up published by the Canadian-based Human Security Centre, even since 1992 the number of wars has dropped by more than 40%.
Still more dramatically, the average number of battle-deaths per conflict per year - a measure of the deadliness of warfare - has plummeted from 38,000 in 1950 to just 600 in 2002.'
What is interesting is that I am not alone in my believe that Oh Christ we're all going to die screaming.
'According to a new survey almost three-quarters of Britons think the world is a more dangerous, war-like place than it was 50 years ago.
Conducted to mark the UN Peace Day today, the poll found 74% of the public believes the globe is more violent now than it was in 1956 while 63% think the situation will get worse in the next 50 years.'
It is worth while having a sense of proportion and remembering who would benefit if it was widely believed that we live in a uniquely violent age (which is to say an age in which old fashioned things like freedom of speech and habeas corpus might have to be dispensed with).